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Multiple Sclerosis: the Questions You Have—the Answers You Need.
  1. DAVID BATES

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    Multiple Sclerosis: the Questions You Have—the Answers You Need. Edited by r c kalb. (Pp 614, US$39.95). Published by Demos Medical, New York, 2000. ISBN 1–888799–43–9.

    People with multiple sclerosis feel deprived of information about their condition, a feeling which is most acute just after formal diagnosis and early in the course of the disease. This new edition of the American question and answer book is published within weeks of a similar, but shorter, publication from Robinson et al in the United Kingdom.1

    The book, edited by a clinical psychologist, contains chapters written by specialists, including neurologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, nurses, financial advisers, employment experts, and lawyers, some of whom are themselves people with multiple sclerosis. It uses team work to formulate and answer hundreds of potential questions and in an information oriented society in which it is often hard to know which information to trust it promises to be ‘trustworthy, factual and honest’.

    The problem with such texts is that the individual questions never seem precisely correct for the individual patient and, despite the chapter headings, it is difficult to find any specific question; questions on treatment,for example, appear in the chapters on neurology, treatment, physical therapy,and sexuality. None the less, it provides reasonable, comprehensive, and factual answers and does not show the bias of many current internet information services. It is North American in style and content and the useful appendix on resources has little relevance outside the continental United States. It provides information for people with multiple sclerosis and would be useful in a multiple sclerosis resource centre in the United Kingdom provided that the people with multiple sclerosis who use it remember the advice from Dr Schapiro in the forward that “it is no substitute for talking with your health professional”.

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